In a bit of a surprise, the Braves are considering a run at White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, according to a major-league source. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the team has had “at least preliminary discussions” about acquiring Sale.
Although the Braves have spent the last two years dealing away veterans, general manager John Coppolella has publicly stated that the team would have interest in adding controllable starting pitching at this year’s trade deadline. With Julio Teheran unlikely to be dealt, Atlanta’s main deadline focus is said to be dealing some lower-end veterans like Lucas Harrell, Jeff Francoeur and Erick Aybar before the end of the month.
Though contenders like the Rangers, Red Sox and Dodgers would initially appear to be more likely fits for Sale due to their status in this year’s race, the Braves look to be turning a corner in their rebuilding process and have the chips to make a serious run at Sale. Atlanta had six prospects (Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Sean Newcomb, Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint) listed in Baseball America’s midseason ranking of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Sale, who was scratched from his start Saturday night after a clubhouse incident in which he cut up a throwback uniform he didn’t want to wear, has quickly been thrust into the trade market as the best starter available. The rest of the market is a weak one, as Athletics left-hander Rich Hill and Phillies righty Jeremy Hellickson are among the top starters still available.